lights out, ah ha!

Lots of cool stuff today but let’s start with an episode of mythbusters about whether it is cheaper to leave lights on all the time or to continuously turn them on and off. Yeah, it’s the latter. I don’t know how this myth got started but it’s there and I often see lights on around campus when no one is using a room. So, if you’re the last one leaving a room? Turn off the lights, please.

On my end, what I do to conserve energy is that all of the non-staff library systems shut down every night at 11pm and restart again at 6am. This gives us 7 hours every night of off time while still keeping the systems on for maintenance. I think it works pretty good.

I don’t shut off staff computers because I know that one of you will leave a Word doc open one night, the system will auto-shutdown and your doc will be lost or something. I know one of you will do that because I most certainly would! So, staff computers are left on all the time.

In the “Wow! I feel dumber having read that!” category is a new and truly stupid site from Virgil Griffith. Some of you may remember Virgil from the wiki datamining, wiki scanning project that revealed (SHOCKING!!!) that corporations and government agencies were manipulating data in wikipedia. Well, now he’s back with a great, new, but far less intelligent datamining project: booksthatmakeyoudumb.

See, what he wanted to do was draw a correlation between stupidity (as measured by SAT scores) and the books that stupid people read (by asking people on Facebook to voluntarily upload their top 5 books.) Ok, just a glance at this project reveals its flaws. First, it’s presented as a chartoon which does more to obfuscate data than to disseminate it. Second, he claims to be a scientist looking at the data with cool rationalism, and yet quickly brushes aside the fundamental flaw of the study; that correlation does not equal causation. He does this by admitting that there’s no relationship in the data but goes on to call the data “awesome.” So what, Virgil, is awesome about the data if there’s no relationship?

I could go on and on, there are category problems for the books (and why are they categorized anyway?) and so much more. Suffice it to say, his college is the smartest college and people who read Lolita and Atlas Shrugged are the smartest people. Clearly, proof that dumb books are read by dumb people, innit? And clearly the most “awesome” use of the internet since it’s inception. I have to be honest, the one thing I do find awesome is that somehow the internet has sped up the rate of psuedo-scientists reifying and essentializing their data. A study must be done, quick… TO THE FACEBOOK!

I’m pretty sure that he’s just trying to get his name to the top of a google search for Virgil (he says so in the FAQ) and I’m not going to help. How about a google search raspberry instead: Sites that make you dumb.

That’s it for now. I have to compile “the big list of stuff that I do” for today and tomorrow’s meetings. Cya!

P.S. the title of today’s blog?  Comes from this Peter Wolf song.  You remember him from the J. Geils band, right?


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